What Goes Around Comes Around. We’re all familiar with this universal truth as it relates to personal relationships. The Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Some folks just call it Karma. No matter how it’s stated, it reflects great words of wisdom that we all should take to heart – even with the soil upon which we grow and raise our food supply.
When we apply this wisdom to our farm soil, the ongoing cycle linking soil health and human health is backed by agricultural science. Pastured cattle and poultry are the “proving ground” for this cycle.
- The cycle begins with nutrients in the pasture’s soil.
- The plants in the pasture absorb nutrients from the soil.
- The pastured cattle and poultry absorb the nutrients from the plants, and they return nutrients to the soil through their natural digestive processes to complete the pasture’s cycle.
- The end result is sustainable ongoing production of beef, eggs, and poultry with optimal nourishment to promote optimal human health.
Healthy soil functions as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans, providing optimal essential minerals and trace elements that are either lost or minimized in conventional fields and feedlots. While most soils contain sufficient minerals, conventional chemical treatments have fostered soil conditions unfavorable for nutrient uptake.
There is no doubt that conventional chemicals have increased production. There is also no doubt that the same chemicals have diminished nutrition. Science has proven that 85 to 90 of plant nutrient uptake is microbially mediated, and a diverse population of soil microbes from several functional groups is necessary for optimal uptake.
Science has proven that we can nurture our soil for optimal nutrition by applying the following principles to the management of our fields and pastures.
- Minimize “Chronic” Disturbances such as overtreatment, over-tillage and overgrazing.
- Maximize Cover for thermal and physical soil protection from environmental hazards and harmful vegetation.
- Increase Diversity of plants and animals to create habitat for beneficial wildlife, and to break pest and disease cycles.
- Provide Continuous Living Roots through purposeful rotational grazing practices. This gives the livestock the nutritional benefits of pasture vegetation without stressing the vegetation, and nutritional benefits are returned to the vegetation by the livestock’s natural digestive processes.
Why pasture Cattle and Poultry? In short – because “What Goes Around Comes Around.”
RE: Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health – USDA NRCS – Justin Morris, Regional Soil Health Specialist, National Soil Health Division, Jan 30, 2018